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Stigma clings stubbornly to women living with HIV/AIDS
Date:3/31/2008

Washington, D.C. (March 31, 2008) HIV-positive women in the United States face strikingly high levels of stigma, according to survey results released today by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

The amfAR survey results will be presented at a press conference on Monday, March 31, at 9 a.m. at the National Press Clubs 13th Floor First Amendment Lounge, 529 14th St. N.W., in Washington, D.C. The press conference will be followed by a briefing in which panelists will offer personal and professional perspectives on HIV-related stigma among women.

The results of the survey reveal pervasive negative views of HIV-positive women and a high level of discomfort in interacting with them. Many of the responses display a lack of knowledge of how HIV is transmitted and misplaced fear of contracting the virus that indicate a pressing need to scale up prevention education efforts.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents indicated that they would be somewhat or not at all comfortable with an HIV-positive woman as their dentist; 59 percent said they would be somewhat or not at all comfortable with an HIV-positive woman serving as their childcare provider; and 57 percent said they would be somewhat or not at all comfortable having a female physician who is HIV-positive. One in five respondents would be somewhat or not at all comfortable having a close friend who is HIV positive.

Only 14 percent of respondents felt that HIV-positive women should have children. Currently medication exists to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

The survey also demonstrates significant differences in how Blacks, Hispanics and Caucasians perceive HIV/AIDS and the risk of acquiring it. Of those who know someone with HIV or AIDS, Blacks (34 percent) and Hispanics (32 percent) are much more likely to have a family member with HIV/AIDS than Caucasians (13 percent).

Insights were also gained into public attitudes about HIV testing. Nearl
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Contact: Donald Kaplan
donald.kaplan@amfar.org
212-816-1602
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
Source:Eurekalert

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